Back in February when we were implementing changes to the blog, a new monthly column was supposed to be started, but unfortunately it fell by the wayside. Now that’s being remedied. At least once a month we will be featuring a column written by a mutual acquaintance of three of us. It will focus on the investigative side of the paranormal. Let me be clear that none of us is on a investigation team and this blog does not intend to evolve into a site where we offer proof of what exists or doesn’t exist on the Other Side. These columns are simply meant to be sensible guidelines for those who may want to do some investigating of their own. So, without further ado…
Nighttime Photography Tips
Lets look at basic night time photography tips. Remember this is just a basic guide as all cameras will vary slightly. You may still need to experiment to get the correct settings.
One thing people forget is low light photography is basically two pictures on top of each other, one from the flash, the other from the ambient light. Its these where a picture may be in focus but lights will leave trails. This is because the aperture is still open allowing ambient light in.
Flash: some cameras allow you to adjust your flash strength, I suggest turning it up all the way to increase your depth of field.
Night scene or night shot, some cameras have this and if your using a tripod fine but without one you stand a great chance of blur or light trails because night scene gives your camera a longer exposure time. Many mistakes are made here.
Exposure is the time your aperture is open. What happens in many cases you take a picture, your flash goes off and you lower your camera. Well many times your camera aperture is still open so the picture will show light trails or blurring of the brighter objects. You should not use a long exposure UNLESS your shooting off a tripod. Hearing is very important when taking pictures at night. You need to listen for your camera to finish a picture before you move it. I have seen many pictures claimed to be paranormal that were up to 8 seconds exposure times. YOU WILL GET MOVEMENT unless shooting off a tripod. The longer your exposure the more movement in your picture becomes see thru. See those claimed apparition on the internet where a person is see through? Its movement with long exposure. See light trails? These are long exposure.
Exposure is measured by f-stops Remember the lower the F-stop the more light your camera lets in.
F1 being largest F 64 being a pin hole Now your camera may be limited so select a low setting so more light enters your camera.
ISO: ISO speed affects the shutter speed / aperture combinations you can use to obtain correct exposure. The higher the ISO the more pixelation you get.
Now using a flash at night you want an ISO that is appropriate. 400 to 640 are good all around settings. If you have a 12 mega pixel or higher camera you can even go up to an 800 ISO. Do not go higher unless your shooting off a tripod without a flash. Also do not drop to a 200 or 100 ISO unless your shooting off a tripod WITH flash.
Foreign objects in your picture, when using a flash any foreign particle, from lint to pollen, even moisture appear as objects in your picture if they are near your lens, they often give the illusion of being further away from the lens. Remember your shooting in 2D. Many small point and shoot cameras catch a sleeve, a finger even camera straps or lens cap strings in the flash. These appear as a bright objects often reported as ghosts or a vortex. But once again understand your equipment.
Shadows: Many times a dark shadow or spot is misperception. A finger blocking a portion of a flash will appear as a dark shape. When taking pictures an object off the side can appear as a larger shape when the flash creates a shadow. I have seen a vase as a cowboy.
Always try and pay attention to your surroundings. Take control shots with the lights on as a reference. When taking pictures at night take a couple from each position so you have another picture to reference.
Most digital cameras have an exif file attached to your pictures. They explain what settings your camera had. You can look at these to see if a flash went off, your ISO, your exposure time, your f-stop along with many other settings. We are only looking at the basics as we aren’t professionals. Windows 7 allows you to see photo properties. Photo shop paint shop, and many other software allow you to look at your Exif. Photome is a great FREE program to to view your exif.
I hope this will help you understand and take better photographs at night.
Copyright: Debunk Paranormal, 2012